How to Fix Airbrushes

Written by alex smith
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How to Fix Airbrushes
Most airbrush problems can be repaired fairly easily (airbrushpistole image by Thomas Duchauffour from

Airbrushes are wonderful tools for an artist to have in his arsenal, but it is one that requires occasional maintenance. With many moving parts, it eventually locks up and refuses to spray paint (or sometimes refuses to stop). When you encounter these problems, it is important to know how to fix the airbrush. Some problems require a professional to work on the airbrush, but most can be fixed at home with a few basic steps.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Airbrush with compressor and hose
  • Solvent
  • Bowl
  • Paper towels
  • Cotton swabs
  • Small paint brush or pipe cleaner
  • Emory board
  • Replacement parts

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  1. 1

    Check your air supply to ensure that all parts are working properly. Hook up the airbrush to the compressor with a hose and turn the air pressure up high. Blow air with no paint. If no air comes out, remove the airbrush gun from the hose. If air starts when the gun is taken off, the gun is clogged and needs to be cleaned.

    If there is still no air, remove the hose from the compressor. If air comes out of the compressor, the hose is clogged and needs to be replaced. If there is no air, the problem is likely in the compressor, which will have to be taken to a repair shop or replaced.

  2. 2

    Disassemble the airbrush gun and check the needle. It should be perfectly straight. If it is bent it can cause the paint to come out incorrectly (or not at all). Minor bends in the needle tip can be repaired by scratching them with your fingernail until they straighten, or by filing them down with an emory board. If the bend is larger, you will have to replace the needle.

  3. 3

    Check the nozzle for cracks, splits or other damage. Often the nozzle can be damaged if the airbrush is dropped. If this is the case, the nozzle will need to be replaced.

  4. 4

    Reassemble the airbrush and make sure that the needle is pressed all the way forward. If your airbrush hisses and leaks air even when you aren't pressing this trigger, this is often the cause. Loosen the needle chuck (located at the back of the needle), push the needle forward and retighten the chuck.

Tips and warnings

  • Properly clean your airbrush every time you use it. Spray some solvent through it to remove the bulk of the paint. Then take it apart and soak any pieces with paint on them in a bowl of solvent. Use cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and small paint brushes to scrub off any paint from the pieces and from the main section of the airbrush. Wipe the needle down with a paper towel.
  • Always use proper ventilation when using paint solvents.
  • Avoid getting solvent on any rubber parts of your airbrush.

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